How I inherit my artsy talent and my neurotic mind


If there was an oscar for the best mom, my mom won’t won it. Yeah, she’s not the best mom ever or anything, but I’d still write something for her. I never write anything about my family before simply because you don’t find tragic family problems are fascinating enough to share to millions of strangers. Anyhow, I always try to write positive and optimistic things in my blog.

But heeeeeeeeeeeey, aren’t all families tragic? It’s just the matter of acceptance and again, how we see it. Right?

Since today is Indonesian Mother’s Day, I want to talk about my mom.

When I was a kid, I was pretty sure that I was adopted. I looked nothing like my mom and my dad. My mom was a very cool independent woman, drove her own car, sewed her own dresses which is always fabulous, and she had this rocking body. She’s a very strong and smart woman and was very modern by that time. If only she was educated, she could climb that corporate ladder. However my dad’s business went blackout when he got heart attack. My mom took care of him and she stopped wearing fabulous dresses. Reality was biting her. My parent sold our other house, our other car and the other things I didn’t know. My mom started to spend more time at home, and I was happy. My dad started to work for people, he wasn’t his own boss anymore, which didn’t effect me anything cause I didn’t spend so many times with him anyway. I didn’t get to spend more time with Mom though because she was busy with either my sister or my brother. The two of them seemed to get more attention than me and I was okay. I read more books and drew more crappy comics.

My mom is neurotic, but she’s kind. Her bad temper and stubbornness made an ugly combo for her mind and soul. But she had her own reasons, which I never understood. She might be unreasonable sometimes though. But one thing I am VERY SURE about my mom is, she is a very strong woman.

After so many tragedy in our family, she decided to move from Jakarta, the only place I knew to the other city called Bogor. She was excited, I could tell, partly because she, herself, loved traveling. She likes adventures. I was fifteen and didn’t have any friends in the new city. She was my only friend, because my dad was living in Jakarta during week days.

Our kitchen in the new house was big, so she started to cook more and I loved her cooking. Once, I ultimately messed her kitchen because I was making a Valentine’s chocolate for my friend, guy friend. She came back home seeing the kitchen like hell, I was so afraid she would scream at me but she didn’t. She asked what happened and I showed her my chocolate. She said it was so cool I made that football club’s logo chocolate. (It was intermilan logo, ok?) She asked whom it is for and I told her this guy’s name. She laughed. It was cool, Mom. =)

My relationship with her wasn’t developed so well though because she was so occupied with my brother’s problem, until she couldn’t take it and send him to China, using (supposed to be) my college funds. I personally asked her, how did you get the money to send him to China, and she said there’s this funds she kept for my college and she said she borrowed it first. I knew the money would be gone forever and I was angry. Again, I never told her I was angry. I just wrote more poems instead.

One time, there was a blood drive in my high school, I didn’t manage to do it because I wasn’t healthy enough but I managed to find out my blood type after 15 years. I rushed back to home and I told my mom. “Mom, I found out my blood type today.” She asked what was it? I said O. She asked, “Is it possible to have an O kid from me and your dad?” I lied to her I said no. She wasn’t shocked, she said, “That’s okay dear, as long as you have lived with me, it means you’re my kid.” I shouted, NO! IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE AN O KID. I AM YOUR KID, RIGHT? And she laughed.

However I got to spend more times with her now that she was only mine. We went to market together, went to pray together, she cooked me more food and talked to me more stuffs. She found out how I was so into football and knew my favorite team is Parma and bought me Parma clock. It was so damn cool.

Then my brother insisted to come back, and she agreed so he was back again. It was time for college application though and I didn’t apply any of them because I knew I didn’t have money to pay anyway if I was accepted. I overheard my mom talking on the phone with her brother saying she would just ask me to study language to China. I swear I wanted to suicide. I hated China so much and I was 17 years old and I was depressed. I told her the next day, I didn’t want to go to China. She asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted to go to college and she sighed. I told her I’ll figure it out myself. And guess what, I got scholarship. Not full scholarship though, but I got accepted without tests only paying enrollment fee without all the crappy other fees. My mom was so happy and she said she was proud of me.

She bragged to all of her relatives about my acceptance in Unpar, the famous college that a lot of people was dying to get into. I let her brag, and I was happy seeing her bragging. It was cool, Mom.

My mom has OCD, she managed to pack almost all my clothes and my other Parma things to only two suitcases. We were going to the bus terminal very early in the morning and off to Bandung, a city 3 hours from Jakarta, where I spent the next 5 years of my life. She sterilized my dorm by washing every single things inside my dorm room. She washed the curtains and let it drip the whole night. She asked whether she should stay with me on the first night. I said I don’t know. She said, “I don’t think it’s necessary. You’re a big girl now. You must take care of yourself and be independent from now on.” I said ok. She left, taking the next bus home. I was crying the whole night. Again, I was in a foreign place, and it was freaking cold (Bandung was cold). I remember she said I would have a lot of fun here and I decided to believe her and pushed myself to sleep.

She was right. I had the time of my life for my four years in college. And I met the love of my life, but it’s another story.

It was my 21st birthday when I got the most awesome surprise party anyone could ever had. AND MY MOM CAME! Yeah, my friends threw me a surprise party and they asked my mom to come. She came and she partied with us. It was cool, Mom.

I spent the most amazing four years in my life, finished my thesis and graduated. While other kids have their full team family cheering for their graduation, I only had my mom. She told me, she never even dreamed to see me graduate university. It was like a dream come true for her. She shed a tear you know. And the coolest thing was, she made my graduating dress. It was really cool, mom.

I worked in Bandung as a teacher after graduated and the pay was not so good. My mom was kinda disappointed because she hoped that I could carry the financial responsibility after finished uni, and I chose to be a teacher. She kept saying it was an honorable job though but it won’t get me anywhere. After one and half year working as a teacher, I must resign and move back to my mom’s because she was having mental breakdown. Apparently my brother went to jail, and my mom went crazy, crazier than she already was. So I moved back home and everything was chaotic. I had the worst two years in my life. I fought with her almost all the time. Apparently after living by my own for five years, I couldn’t handle the pressure of being told what to do by anyone, including my mom. I was accepted as a journalist in one of the biggest magazine chain in Indonesia and my mom was so proud of me. Again, she bragged about me to everyone she knew, and again, I liked to see that. However I resigned three months later, going back to teaching again, this time with the touch of reality. I gave tutors with high pay. And it worked. I saved money and moved to Singapore.

My mom hugged me when she sent me off to Singapore. She rarely hugged me. She said I’m gonna make it, she said she knew it, I just need to have faith.

Again, she was right. Three days after I set my foot in Singapore, I already got a job, while other people probably needs three months. I took my risk and it worked. You know who is the first person I called? Not Bandi. My mom. I called my mom first. I told her she’s right. She said I’m a blessed woman. That’s very very cool Mom.

I had a big fight with her once, when I came back to Jakarta last year. We didn’t talk for about 6 months. Sometimes I still cry when the thought suddenly came to mind. But anyway, it’s the whole another story.

It’s been eight years since I really lived by my own. I never thought everything would be this easy if it wasn’t because of everything she had taught me. She taught me how to cook, how to hang your clothes so it won’t wrinkle, how to dress (obviously), but most importantly she taught me how to be an independent woman, since I was five years old. She did everything by herself. I saw that, and in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to be that. She probably never passed me the value of life and she never prep talked me, but she passed me the strength to live life fearlessly and that turns to be very important for me.

After 26 years of wondering whether I am adopted, now I’m very sure that I’m the child of my parents, especially my mom. I have her OCD, her addiction of caffeine, her passion of traveling, her neurotic unstable mind, her romantic side, her bookworm trait and her writing talent.

My mom isn’t the best mom in the world, but hey, she’s one hell of cool mom.

me and mom

I am writing a letter for her now. =)

Cheers,

May.

23 thoughts on “How I inherit my artsy talent and my neurotic mind

  1. Beautiful! A moving picture. And an example of the intricate relationship parents and children have by definition. A “public letter” any parent would welcome if his or her daughter or son would write on Mothers or Fathers Day. (I’ll show this example to my children :-D).

  2. Glad that u write this letter.. so glad :).
    “My mom isn’t the best mom in the world, but hey, she’s one hell of cool mom” — but hey, u’re one hell of cool daughter *kisskiss*

  3. Such a poignant piece, thank you for writing this and letting us read it. As a daughter of a neurotic and strong mother I can relate to this. Your mother is beautiful. Also, trivial but I’ve gotta say it, I used to live in Bogor as well. My neurotic mother still lives there :)

    Visiting here for the first time, hi!

    • Hi there too Bubbles!
      I straightaway remember a cute character from power puff girls writing your name just now.
      Thank you for visiting my blog. Hope this means an invitation for me too from you or otherwise I’ll invite myself visiting your blog. :p
      Anyway, having a neurotic mom is a blessing in disguise. I hope we both grow up to be stronger women. :)

      Cheers!

  4. Hey Mey, because you’re leaving a comment on my blog, it brought me here. And BAM!!! This is the first post that I read. You’re mom is really cool. Really!!! My mom passed away when I was 7, and if she’s still alive, I would like her to be as cool as your mom :)
    I’ll keep on reading :) Seems like you have a real cool way to write. You inherit this from your mom, don’t you??

  5. Your letter to your mom moved me. It is also very beautifully written. Personally, I never have a real bond with my mom. she never taught me how to cook or to iron because she has been a career woman, and it seems we speak in different languages :/ But one thing she taught me since I was a little kid and I am really grateful for that : be an independent woman. And here I am today, a hard working woman who loves to cook and I excel in ironing! I like your blog :) and I am officially a stalker now hehehe

  6. oh god… May, gw truly a believer that everything happens for a reason. Gw baru kelar tulis entry di blog gw supaya jadi kenangan nanti di masa2 mendatang kalo gw pernah kurang ajar dan bentak nyokap gw…………

    Pas dapet updatean kalo elo juga ada entry baru dan selesainya gw komen ke boyband, gw ngeliat foto elo sama nyokap yg jadi featured post di sebelah kanan…. tulisan elo “Apparently after living by my own for five years, I couldn’t handle the pressure of being told what to do by anyone, including my mom.”

    itu AKAR dari kekurang ajaran gw kayanya!!! oh my god. gw merinding may, kok bisa ya dari sekian juta bloggers diluar sanaaaaaa yang bisa come and go, gw bisa jatuh cinta dan dapet makna yg dalem bener dr tulisan-tulsian elo ini. huuuu mellow banget ati gw skrrrr, ga maksud kurang ajaar deh bener, tp apa yg elo blg, tekenan dari nyokap yg mo ‘ajarin’ atau ‘cuman kasih tau’ yang gw ga bisa terima. BE MY FRIEND MEITIRIYANA!!!!!!! BEG U PLEASE WITH CHERRY ON TOP.

    • Hmmm be your friend? Hmm…. Mau ga ya….
      With cherry on top??? OKAAAYY!!! XD

      Iya fab, I guess because we grop up juga so we already know what we want and how we handle things, sdgkan buat orang tua, yang namanya anak gak pernah grow up, dia akan selamanya worry soal kita, anaknya.
      But my relationship with my mom is complicated. We had so much emotional history, mgkn krn gue sbnrnya sama kayak dia. Dia takut gue mengulangi kesalahan dia but she went neurotic about it and so many other things yang ruined me physchologically.
      But again, the bond between a mother and daughter will never be broken. :)
      Jangan galau yah kakakkkk! X)

  7. Wow. A very moving post. It sort of resonated with me because I too have a somewhat volatile relationship with my Mum. Things were not easy then and for the sake of everyone’s sanity, we finally resorted to an uneasy truce. I suppose once you realize that your parents are only human and therefore imperfect, it makes everything easier to accept.

    Anyway.

    Oh~ Elu alumni FISIP Unpar ya!? Kayaknya gue mengenali toga itu en the colour. And of course, that hideous looking dark green suede folder where they put your diploma. I don’t know where mine is now. I think I threw it away a couple of days after the graduation. Well, it IS horrid looking.

  8. Mayy..how r u? i remember ur mom, met her the first time i arrived at the dorm :), how lucky you r to have a mom so cool like her :)

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